Cooking School: Fall Favorites

Photo Credit: donsutherland1 via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: donsutherland1 via Compfight cc

 It’s officially fall.  We can start replacing fresh salads with roasted or steamed veggies, cook more beans, grains or meat for warmth and energy, increase nuts for fat and incorporate the produce that grows around you.  Fall is also the ideal time to slow down your lifestyle to help remove toxins and de-stress your body.  Fall’s foods are naturally immunity-boosting and prepare our bodies to be healthy and balanced as we enter the cooler season.  Excerpt from “The One Diet That Works for Everyone,” posted on the blog “Mommy Run Fast,” Sept. 25, 2013.

This week’s Cooking School post was inspired by a blog post I read recently about the health benefits of eating seasonally.  The paragraph above is just a snippet, but I’d encourage you to check out the whole post if you’re interested in learning more about the concept of eating seasonally or according to your Ayurvedic type.

It makes perfect sense to me that nature produces the foods we need to keep us healthy as the seasons change.  And doesn’t it just seem like the right thing to do to start eating warm, cozy foods in the fall and crisp, fresh foods in the spring?  Sadly, few restaurants (especially of the drive-through variety) seem to recognize any change in the weather and continue to dish up the same heavy, greasy fare year-round.  To help you cook your own healthful, seasonal foods, here are some of my favorite recipes for fall.  These aren’t just recipes I found on Pinterest with a pretty picture — I have made all of these recipes many times, and I can personally vouch that they are easy, healthy, and delicious.

Cheater’s Pulled Pork (it’s a “cheater” recipe because you make it in a crockpot, not a smoker.  But it’s still pretty darn good!)

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili with Sweet Potatoes I’m sure I’ve mentioned this recipe before, but it bears repeating — it’s a great vegetarian recipe that even meat-lovers like!

Roasted pumpkin or squash seeds

Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal (this one takes some advance planning, but it’s sooo good, and great for feeding overnight guests because you mix it up ahead of time.)

Homemade Granola with seasonal add-ins like dried cranberries, dried apples, pecans, walnuts, and extra cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.  (The recipe calls for honey and brown sugar, but I only use the honey and it’s sweet enough.)

Gumbo-laya (my own invention)

Roasted Vegetables — chop an assortment of fall vegetables (like sweet potato, squash, brussels sprouts & cauliflower) into equal-sized pieces, stir in a bit of olive oil and salt, and roast at 400 degrees F until they look roasty toasty.  Top with seasoning of choice, stir, and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Healthy-ish Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chicken & wild rice soup — I don’t have a link to the recipe I normally use but this one looks very similar.

Curry — I keep promising a post about curries, and it certainly seems appropriate to make it next week’s topic — stay tuned!

What are your favorite fall foods?  Do you think eating seasonally can help you stay healthy?

Welcome to my Cooking School series, which is designed to share what I’ve learned as an experienced home cook with people who want to learn how to cook healthy, homemade food. If you have a topic you’d like me to address, please leave a comment! I try to post a new Cooking School installment on Thursdays.


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10 thoughts on “Cooking School: Fall Favorites

  1. First of all: curries are my favorite so I’m so excited to see the next post in this series.

    I have a pumpkin pie oatmeal recipe, but it’s not baked, so there isn’t the make ahead factor. I’d love to try the recipe you linked to. My oatmeal lover is away at college, but I’m putting this on the menu for when she’s home sometime this fall.

    I need to read the article on MommyRunFast that you linked to. I always bemoan the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables in the winter. Maybe it would give me a new perspective on eating seasonally.
    Shana Norris recently posted…Fall Bucket ListMy Profile

    • Mmm… Pumpkin our oatmeal is amazing, but this makes a whole 9×13 pan so it’s great for a crowd, and something about soaking the oatmeal overnight makes it really creamy, almost like there’s cream cheese in it but there’s not. I’m not a curry expert but I’ll try not to disappoint! (I’m trying to get my husband to help me with that post.)

  2. I was supposed to be eating fresh salads all summer? I better read the article you linked! I thought ice cream was the important summer food.

    The cheater’s pulled pork sounds amazing and is going on my “must try” list.

    • Oh yes — winter would get a bit dire for those of in cold climates if we didn’t eat some summer foods that were preserved by canning or freezing! I love living in the Midwest but California starts looking really good about mid-February.

    • Ha, I guess you’re right! But my husband the barbecue purist would disagree. Still, I don’t think he would complain too much if I made this pulled pork instead of asking him to smoke it for 10 hours.

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